The Wick is that perfect system in which you will not have any removable parts. Furthermore, there is no need for you to use electricity, because you will not need to install a pump. For setting up this type of garden you will have to make use of a container for the plants, a container for the water, a growing media and some material in order to keep those connected.
The manner in which the wick system functions is elementary. The container with the plants is placed on top of the container filled with the nutrient mixture. In other words, roots drown in it and absorb what they need. It is best to have a spare reservoir in order to replace the one that gets empty. The rule says that at first you can add water. But when it happens again, you need to change the whole water quantity present in the container.
There are various disadvantages of the wick system. One of them is the fact that you will be able to grow only small plants. This happens because the system is fragile and could not support weight of a taller plant. In other words is the perfect choice for growing herbs or plants like lettuces.
Adding up, by using the wick system you risk causing lack of nutrients in the plant. This will diminish the overall quality of your harvest. So, you will have to monitor the roots in order to establish if there is the need of adding extra nutrients.
The wick represents the crucial part of this system because it is responsible for providing the proper amount of nutrients and moisture. You can use testing kits in order to be sure everything is working fine. Another important component of the system is represented by the container in which the nutrient mixture is placed. This needs to be cleaned properly before usage. Also, you will have to constantly check it in order to avoid situations like when the reservoir ends up dry. From now and then it is recommended to clean it to remove residues that may gather at its bottom. There are some that opt for setting up an air pump. This is proper when you observe there is no enough aeration. You can determine that by analyzing the roots or by simply using a testing kit.
Bottom line, the wick system is the most elementary system you can get in hydroponics. Is the one used in school projects in order to familiarize the students with the benefits of hydroponic gardening.